Lively works deep in dazzling MLB debut

Lively works deep in dazzling MLB debut

PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody bother Ben Lively until he makes his next start.

He allowed four hits and one run in seven innings Saturday in a 5-3 victory over the Giants at Citizens Bank Park, earning the win in his big league debut. It was just the 11th time this season a Phillies starter pitched more than six innings and the first time it happened since May 21, so whatever mojo he had working, the Phillies need more of it.

"Needless to say, Lively is my favorite pitcher," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

The Phillies have won just seven of their last 33 games for plenty of reasons, but mostly because their starting pitching has been among the worst in baseball. They entered the game with a 5.41 ERA, which ranked 29th. They have a 6.41 ERA in the past 33 games.

"I love going deep in games; that's one of my things," Lively said. "Once I get past six, I'm like, another gear, let's go. That was definitely special to me."

Lively on debut, composure

Lively is the first Phillies starter to earn the win in his debut since Jerad Eickhoff on Aug. 21, 2015. He is the first Phillies starter to pitch seven innings with four or fewer hits and one or fewer runs in his debut since Gavin Floyd on Sept. 3, 2004.

Lively's first MLB hit

Nerves? Lively, who even laced a single to center in the fifth, said he had none.

"I was more excited to throw my first pitch," he said. "I was like, 'Let's get it out of the way, let's go.' But, coming off the mound, off the last inning, I kind of looked up, caught eyes with my mom [Ginny Lively]. And she's a little crybaby, so that's when it all kind of sunk in."

His mother, sister, grandmother and a friend were in the stands. His father, Ed Lively, runs fishing charters out of Pensacola, Fla. He had to work Saturday morning, but he jumped off the boat and caught the game on TV.

"The thing that impressed me the most is he showed no fear," Mackanin said about Lively's debut. "From the first pitch on, he pitched like he belonged here."

Mackanin on Lively's debut

It helped that this was Lively's third stint with the Phillies this season. He joined the bullpen in April, but did not pitch. He rejoined the Phillies last month as the 26th man during a doubleheader against the Nationals, but did not pitch again.

But Lively said being around the team helped him feel a little more comfortable Saturday.

"I got used to being with these guys in Spring Training and in regular-season games," he said. "It definitely settled me in a little bit better."

Lively had no strikeouts, making him the first Phillies pitcher to throw seven or more innings with no strikeouts since Vance Worley on Aug. 1, 2012, at Washington. Lively is the first pitcher to do that in his debut since the Yankees' Matt DeSalvo on May 7, 2007.

"I couldn't even strike out my sister tonight," Lively said. "And she can hit a little bit. But they were swinging, putting the ball on the ground, and if they were going to keep doing that, I'll keep rolling with it."

The Phillies will keep rolling with Lively as long as he keeps pitching like this.

"I've had a lot of my buddies come up in the last couple of years and to finally get my chance is very cool," he said.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.